I was walking home today, sorting out my new blog post in my head and quite frankly, it wasn’t working. So I gave up and started thinking about dinner – and what beer from my stash I was going to have with it. I began wishing, once again, that there was a decent New Zealand beer-matching cookbook. In fact, I wish this every time I go to a book store and am confronted with oodles of wine-and-food cookbooks. Yes, we have the Monteiths and the Speights books, but what should I cook to go with a hearty stout or a hoppy IPA?*

Then it hit me – we should just make our own cookbook. I could see it in my imagination immediately – nothing too large or overly fancy, but with a range of matches that covered starters, mains and deserts and a wide selection of beer styles. It’d have a few choice illustrations, but it’d be a proper cookbook, rather than a coffee table book. Brewers, home brewers and beer geeks from around the country could submit their favourite recipes. It’d be a cookbook by the beer-lover, for the beer-lover.

Right about then reality began to catch-up with me and starting asking practical questions. Did I really have access to the people and resources I would need? I can proof, typeset and write the various bits and pieces needed and I could probably talk the art girl at work into doing the design, but what about the other people? I’d need another two recipe testers** and volunteers to taste the resulting food-beer match; possibly a photographer; people to send in recipes; and most importantly, people willing to buy the resulting cookbook. I’d need capital to self-publish and some way of distributing. I’d have to balance the range of recipes without stepping on anybody’s toes or infringing on copyright. The challenges began to mount up.

But it would be such an awesome way to publicise New Zealand craft beer, to improve beer’s image from ‘something the lads scull back’ to something that can (and should) be incorporated into a wider social scene. That beer shouldn’t just be drunk with a barbecue, but with a cheese platter, bountiful roast or a chocolaty desert. That you don’t have to drink wine with a nice dinner.

So now I’m left pondering the pros and cons. Would it be worth the challenge? Or should I consign it to the basket of cool ideas that just wouldn’t work in the real world?

* I did come home and look of the Mighty Ape and Fishpond websites and there are a few overseas ones available, but only the Speights from New Zealand.
**All the best recipe books are triple tested.

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